Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fit & Pregnant

You are all aglow and giddy, sharing with everyone your amazing news! You are pregnant with your first bundle of joy!
Then you realize..."I'm pregnant!-Now what happens to my fitness routine?"
I am here to say, and hopefully many of you already know, you can continue on with business as usual.  Sure, of course, there are the few who are told to abstain from exercise due to personal health conditions.  There are also certain times throughout those nine months when some exercises need to be stopped or modified due to the expansion of the baby bump and for the safety of your growing baby.  Although for the majority, the continuation of exercising will make for a healthy pregnancy and smooth delivery. 
Here are just a few benefits of exercise during pregnancy:
  • helps fight pregnancy fatigue
  • improves sleep
  • improves (sometimes eliminates) constipation
  • relieves back pain
  • makes you happy from the awesome endorphin release
  • may help fight against gestational diabetes
  • ...there's many more! And in case you hadn't noticed, these few basic benefits are those that occur with anyone who exercises. 
A common question I have heard is, "I have never exercised before so is this a bad time to start?" First things first; consult with your physician.  Once you are cleared you can begin with daily swims or walks.  Your next step should be consulting with a certified personal trainer who specializes in prenatal and postnatal fitness.  This will be your opportunity to expand beyond walking and swimming. 

Another great tip for our beautiful mommies-to-be is proper hydration and plenty of healthy calories.  Hydration is important throughout pregnancy alone but when we add exercise to the equation, it becomes more vital.  A great tip is to take a water break before you even warm up.  On the note of food, you need to be sure to get enough healthy calories to sustain your bodily functions, support your growing baby and give you the energy needed for a great workout. 

So, what should you be eating? Although there are many avenues I could take this one, I am going to keep it simple.  It is best to check in with a registered dietitian who can offer a full work up of nutrient dense foods that are specific to your liking as well as your caloric needs.  The dietitian can also address any other health conditions you may have and consult with your personal trainer and physician as well.  Here are a few quick food tips:

  • Consume 7-13 servings daily, of fresh fruits and veggies for glowing skin, boosting immunity, fighting back oxidative stress (which also occurs with exercise), encouraging a healthy gut, and much more!
  • Drink at least 8, 8oz glasses of water (but honestly strive for more since there are many times we are just not keeping track)
  • Enjoy healthy snacks in between meals such as yogurt and fruit.
  • Eat a light snack before and after your workout (especially if you are exercising first thing in the morning) such as a banana --Possibly eat half before and half after, to then eat a full meal within the first 30-60 minutes post workout.
  • Do not forget healthy fats, such as avocado and nuts.   These are especially important for the development of your baby’s brain.
There you have it! There is really no need to stop exercising and becoming pregnant is not an excuse to sit around. More often than not, most physicians will surely recommend living an active lifestyle.  One additional thought, if it doesn't feel right for "you," then stop immediately! Enjoy your pregnancy. It is a magnificently beautiful time of a woman's life!

Are you pregnant with multiples? Check out my "In Health" column and much more, on Multiples & More.  Looking for a great book on nutrition and pregnancy? Grab my friend’s book called Pregnancy Cooking and Nutrition For Dummies.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Superbowl Slump? Get up and MOVE!

Hey Mommas! --and Dads, since I know there are many SAHD's now! :) If you sat around and munched with other Americans last night, what are you going to do about it today?

Well, first of all, it is Meatless Monday, so it may be a great way to give your system time to rest and load up on great fresh veggies, fruits and legumes instead of a meat packed day.  Or you could beat those added calories and gunk from Super Bowl feasting, and reduce your overall food intake as well as get up and really power move today (and this whole week). 

In case you may not know, it takes a reduction of 3,500 calories per week, to lose a pound of fat in a week.  To give yourself a break, why not reduce your calories by at least 150 per day, times two (totally 300) and move enough to burn 200 calories.  Get it? Or, switch it around, and burn 300 through exercise and reduce caloric intake by 200.  However you see fitting to your lifestyle, go for it! I just strongly feel it is best to give yourself a split, rather than focusing on one area, food vs. exercise. 

How can you reduce caloric intake? Here are a few simple ideas:
  • Instead of salad dressing, opt for a bit of olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
  • Eating eggs this morning? Use only one whole egg and fill up that veggie omelet with a few additional egg whites.
  • Grab an apple for a midday pick-me-up snack rather than a candy bar or left over cookies from last night (as a matter of fact, throw those sweet treats from last night away, NOW!).
  • Reduce your portion sizes at all meals or even try the technique of leaving a few bites on the plate (no clean plates here, your more likely to over stuff and over eat!).
So those are just a few quick examples for dealing with the food battles.  Here are some ideas (yes, with the busy moms in mind!) to get in some butt kicking 200 calorie burning physical activity. 
  • Have you got some stairs in your house? Well use them today and everyday this week! RUN up them, and give some stair skipping a try, too.  (Remember if your little ones are with you, be mindful of where they are and use safety precautions).
  • Dance with your little ones! How much fun can that be to break out the music and just de-stress with the little cutie pies?
  • After breakfast cleanup and all meals thereafter, perform 25 jumping jacks, 30 seconds of mountain climbers, 15 pushups, and 20 jump squats.  If time is available, do this giant set two times instead of one, making your total number of rounds for the day at least six! 
  • Get outdoors after school and go for a brisk hour long walk.  Even better, if you have children riding bikes (and a jogging stroller if needed), do some jog/walk/run intervals.  I have personally found that my kiddos on their bicycles are the best interval trainers for myself while running.  If running is not for you, then try walking lunges to amp it up. 

Alright, so that is the best, quickest advice I can give you...since being a busy mother myself, I know you don't have all morning to read a long post.  As always, have fun, be mindful and enjoy your beautiful day!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Tribute to V-day and Publix

I originally had other plans for todays post...but then I opened my Publix Family Style magazine.  I thought is was adorable how they put together a "Share the Love" article.  They have '14' tidbits on how to show your family and others the love you may want to share.  

Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Bake and Take: Double the family's favorite cookie recipe.  Enjoy one batch fresh, and fill treat bags with the rest.  Include a handwritten valentine and deliver to neighbors or a local shelter. 
  2. Make a Date: Plan outings with each of your kids and decide together what to do.  The one-on-one time will be especially memorable. 
  3. Cook with Love: Devote an entire week to cooking your family's requests.  Grab some extra aprons-and chef hats, if you like-and invite the kids to help.  
  4. Dazzle up Dessert: Set up a chocolate-covers strawberries creation station.  Have melted milk and white chocolate and some embellishments, such as sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, coconut and chopped pecan pieces.  Use valentine candy for some of the chocolate or for pretty accents on the finished strawberries.  (This will be a must-do in my household since my beautiful daughter keeps asking for chocolate covered strawberries). 
  5. Wrap it Up: Leave care packages at your spouse's and kids' "doorsteps" for a morning surprise.  (Another will-do for my home as well!) 
To find out the rest of their lovely list, visit publix.com and look for the Publix Family Style magazine.  Go ahead and subscribe! Its Free! Happy V-day! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

5 Fabulous Ways to Sneak in Exercise...even on your busiest days!

As busy moms, we are focused on healthy meal planning, grocery shopping, sporting events, homework, what needs to be ironed for the next days work, cleaning up after the dog, cleaning up after hubby (lol!)…you get the point, right moms? And now, there’s a fitness resolution you are trying to uphold?!? Does it make you want to scream?

Well, before you start screaming, please take a moment to sit and think about what is really important to you…Is it more energy…Are you looking for a reduction in stress…Would you be happy with more fun moments with your friends and family…If you have answered yes to any of these thoughts, exercise is a way to achieve it all! No kidding! Just check out this link: Mayo Clinic

So here are 5 ways that I fit exercise into my busy, yet fun-filled days!

1. Include your family – Take walks after dinner, go on weekend bike rides, play ball in the park…My favorite way to include my husband and children is to have the kids ride their bikes while we adults do some jog/run intervals.  Along the way we also make it educational by checking in with the surrounding nature. 

2. Make television time active time – Are you someone who makes it a priority to catch up on your favorite television shows? Make that potentially not-so-good habit into a better one! This can be as simple as performing a set of great crunches and some heart pumping mountain climbers.  Do this through a full hour of shows with minimal resting, and you will walk away from the television dripping in sweat!

3. Bath time can be fit time – Do your kids like to play in the tub? Great! Let them play while you do some squats, pushups, lunges, and my personal favorite, jump-squats.  Of course, please be mindful of space and use safety precautions with bath water splashes.  (smile!)

4. Career mommas can use lunchtime as a socially fit time – Whether you go to a jobsite or run your own business, use the lunch hour as a time to socialize and get out for a walk.  You will be de-stressing with an exercise induced endorphin release as well as girl talk stress release. 

5. The early bird catches the worm – As it may seem daunting for some at first, I can assure you that many busy moms find that getting up a bit earlier to do something healthy for themselves, reaps many benefits.  So set that alarm clock 20 minutes earlier a few days a week and gradually increase the time through the next few months.  Then check back in here and let us know how amazing you feel and look!

One final thought – “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way.  If you don’t, you’ll find and excuse.” Jim Rohn

Go get Fit & Fabulous, Mommas!! :) 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Quinoa: A powerfood!

Are you looking for a new “grain” to spice up a bland meal? Or maybe you are trying to find something light in texture for the picky eater at your dinner table? May I suggest quinoa?

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) has been said to be the “supergrain of the future."  Or even better, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has officially declared that this year is “The International Year of the Quinoa."  

I personally have found great beauty in the quinoa plant.  Here is an amazing picture of a field of quinoa plants courtesy of http://ayurvedawellness.org/recipes/quinoa-recipes

And another up close from http://www.quinoa.net/

Native to the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru, it has been eaten by natives for some 5,000 years! Among the Inca’s (I remember grade school and learning about these amazing people!) it was a staple food and still is for their descendants.  Unbeknownst to the ancient Incas, quinoa has some amazing nutritional values!
  • 43% DV manganese
  • 21.8% DV tryptophan
  • 20.9% DV magnesium
  • 19.5% DV folate
  • 19.4% DV phosphorus
More good things!! It is a wheat-free, gluten-free and is really the seed of the plant! Quinoa is a complete protein so is great for vegetarians.  On that note, I have a picky 4 year old who has issues with all types of meats, fish, and all things protein, so it has been a great addition to his diet! It is low on the glycemic index, high in lysine,  and a great source of iron and fiber too! I could really go on, so why not give these links a try to learn even more for yourself:

Whole Foods
Quinoa Corporation
Ayurveda Wellness
Alternative Field Crops Manual
Mind Body Green

In conclusion, here are a few ways I enjoy quinoa.  (yes, the kids do too on our good days!)

For breakfast:
½ cup favorite milk (mine is almond!)
½ cup cooked quinoa
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup walnuts or slivered almonds
¼ tsp cinnamon
The way I prepare this amazing breakfast is by slightly heating the milk in a small pan on the stovetop.  While the milk is heating I mix the remaining ingredients in a medium glass bowl.  Once the milk is warmed, I poured it over the top the mixed ingredients and enjoy! If I am feeling like an energizing citrus drink, I will squeeze some oranges as well as one lemon, into an 8oz glass - I find it goes well with this dish!
Sometimes to give a different twist on the morning, I will dice an apple or some pineapple in place of the dried cranberries.  Or, if I am not feeling like a “cereal-type” breakfast, I will use the above ingredients and serve atop a bed of fresh baby spinach leaves…minus the milk of course!
For lunch/dinner:
1 cup prepared quinoa
2-4 kale leaves, chopped (or more or less!)
4 grape tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/4 of an avocado, diced
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 lemon  
Throw all ingredients, except EVOO and lemon, into a large glass bowl and toss.  Then, sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, sea salt and about 2T EVOO.  Squeeze lemon over the top (minus the seeds-smile!), toss, taste, and adjust to your liking! Enjoy!
Note: The nutrient information for quinoa was taken from the Whole Foods website, for which I have included above.  In addition, I mentioned a few things in quotations for which those websites are listed above, too.   

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hope for the New Year!

Hope.  It is a word I hear (and say) often.  But I am here to tell you that the vocabulary must change. It should be I must, I expect, I WILL!! In our crazy "technology warped, fast-paced" world, we just keep sitting back and waiting.  Waiting for that perfect partner, waiting for that perfect job, waiting for that perfect temperature to come up while trying to get pregnant.   

The same goes for that ever-so-popular-new-years-resolution: weight loss.  It can really cause a lot of unwanted stress when we think about it, right? Questions arise, doubts clutter our minds and you get an awful feeling in your stomach just thinking about what you have to give up just to lose those unwanted pounds.  (Scream!!!!)

To begin the new year, I am going to give you some ideas to get your mind set first.  Once the mind is heading in the right direction, weight loss can be more achievable. 

  • Be specific about your goal.  Example: I want to (lose 10 pounds) by (May 30th) because (it's my 10th wedding anniversary celebration).
  • Break it down into small increments.  What are you going to do? Example: Begin getting up 30 minutes early starting on Sunday, January 6th to exercise, at least three times per week.  Don't stop there, you should have 3-5 small steps to get you to your goal.
  • Vow to add something healthy to your day.  Example: I will eat an extra serving of my favorite vegetable everyday.  Note: This could actually be one of the "small increments" from above, but I find it to be such an important aspect to healthy weight loss, I feel it needs it's own bullet. :)
  • I know I have said this before, Write It Down! Someone once told me that it is only a dream until you write it down.  In its written form it becomes a goal, something achievable, something that will get done with your devoted time. 
  • What keeps you motivated? Yes, again, write down some thoughts as to why you want to lose this weight by that particular date.  Example: I want to lose those 10 pounds because I want to fit into the dress I saw in Vogue.  Or what about a healthy motivation: I want to lose those 10 pounds because I know it will improve my cardiovascular health, giving me better ability to run with my children. 
  • Reassess daily and weekly.  At the end of each day see what worked and what didn't.  Strive harder towards your goals the next day.  Then at the end of the week, do the same and this is when you make your tweaks where they are needed. 
Remember, your weight gain did not happen overnight, so the weight loss won't come off that quick either.  Stay calm, breathe and know that you are in control.  If needed, invest in a personal trainer and/or dietitian to help you along your journey.  Or maybe a close friend to hold you accountable.  Either way, attaining those goals will give you amazing gratitude and an immense feeling of accomplishment! See it! Expect it! Know it will happen!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall Into Fitness & Keep Holiday Pounds Away!

You're probably tired of hearing the same ol' adage; "it's that time of year again!" Yeah, well guess what? It is! And if you are like everyone else in the holiday spirit, then it's likely safe to say you are trying desperately to add on that 25th hour to the day! So where oh where are you ever going to find time to drop those extra pounds before the feasting even begins!?!?

First of all, let's put your mind a bit at ease, by first being reminded as to why this time of year is the most "wonderful time of the year!" --yes! I most certainly love the holiday season! You have all your personal and traditional reasons to spend a lot of time with your friends, your extended families, donating to your favorite charities...and making extra special memories with your immediate family members!

That aside, yes, you do need to still find time in that busy schedule to keep your hard earned health and fitness advances as a priority.  And who hasn't heard the ideas and facts about exercise and good nutrition reducing stress? The holiday season, although a happy time for many, will still get the best of us, and lead to some extreme cases of mental breakdown! Pregnant throughout the merry season? An even more fabulous reason to keep the fit thoughts close at hand!

How can this time of year be merry and fit? By carving out a mere five minutes of your time! Now sure, this is not going to get you to your next level of fitness, a figure competition or your first 5K...remember we are trying to maintain our already attained goals or maintain a healthy pregnancy, as well as keep negative stress triggers at bay!...

You can perform this blast in a single five minute time slot, or you can do multiple five minute time slots throughout the day, maximizing the benefits even more! The main focus though, is to stay consistent and do this EVERYDAY! 5 minutes! That's the least you will need!

There are 5 exercises, so you could perform each one for one minute, or do them each once for 30 seconds, then repeat right away; giving you approximately 5-6 minutes worth of work.  These exercises do not require any equipment so they may be performed ANYwhere!! --At home, at work, by the pool, in the hotel room, at your mothers, at your best friend's home...NO EXCUSES!!

So hop to it!!

1. plank
2. lunges --basic, step-back, elevated leg..however you like!
3. push-ups --if needed, this can be the modified way too, on your knees!
4. squats
5. seated dips --for triceps!

Unsure of how to perform? Let me know! Maybe this could be a great time to start a YouTube page! Have fun!